Results tagged ‘ Dempster Family Foundation ’
Ryan Dempster holds his daughter, Riley, at the 2011 Dempster Family Casino Night. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Since the Dempster Family Foundation was launched last year, we at Vine Line have been amazed by the effort and hard work that Ryan and his wife, Jenny, have put into the cause. Both have followed through on their goal to raise $2 million in two years to help strike out DiGeorge syndrome, and Cubs fans across the nation have responded with incredible support.
You can show your support of the Dempsters’ hard work, too, by voting Ryan for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award and checking out some of the great events coming up this offseason at the foundation’s website.
Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson help kick off the fun and games at the second-annual Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night, helping strike out 22q. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Click to play video recap of the inaugural Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night.
Vine Line was there from the start, taking Cubs fans inside the inaugural Dempster Family Foundation Casino Night last season. The launch party was just the first step for the Dempsters, who are about to embark on Year Two of their mission to get every child in the U.S. with DiGeorge Syndrome properly diagnosed.
This year’s event will be on Wednesday, July 20 at the Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago. Individual and “High Roller” tickets are available at dempsterfamilyfoundation.org.
And to learn more about the great cause, read Vine Line’s cover feature from last July. Kerry Sayers talked to both Ryan and Jenny to learn of the challenges they faced raising their daughter through her first year, as well as what continues to drive them to strike out 22q deletion:
The Dempsters have always felt a responsibility to give back, so it was natural form them to begin thinking about starting a charity of their own. In a strange twist of fate, they were in the process of deciding what type of foundation they wanted to start when Riley was born.
“It’s like somebody said, ‘Do it for this. Here, we’re going to give you Riley, and you guys can go out and make a difference because there are parents out there who don’t know how to get the word out. So here, you guys can do it,'” Ryan said.
And getting the word out is the couple’s main goal.
“Meeting so many parents and talking to so many people, we realize so many kids don’t get diagnosed until later on in life and the parents go through such struggles the first years of their lives not knowing what’s wrong with their kids,” Jenny said.
On July 21, Ryan Dempster’s coaches and teammates, along with members of the Cubs front office and about 700 fans, family and friends, circled the wagons around his foundation during a fun casino night and concert fund-raiser at the House of Blues.
More than $225,000 was raised during the night, which was dedicated to “striking out” DiGeorge syndrome, which affects a child’s ability to swallow and digest food. Dempster’s daughter, Riley, was diagnosed with DiGeorge just days after her birth but has progressed marvelously in the 14 months since.
DiGeorge syndrome, also known as the 22q11.2 deletion or Velo-cardiofacial syndrome (VCFS), is caused by a very small missing piece (microdeletion) of chromosome 22. The deletion is present from the time a child is conceived and is generally found in every cell of the body. But with the potential for 186 different symptoms, it is often hard to diagnose.
For the Ryan and Jenny Dempster Family Foundation, Riley’s progress is proof enough that there is hope to beat DiGeorge and help other families dealing with the genetic disorder.
Ryan’s wife, Jenny, concurred.
“It’s amazing to see how far she’s come. I wouldn’t have thought it a year ago, but we had faith and she’s a tough little girl. We just want to share her story so that other parents, when they get the diagnosis, they know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
The night featured players and coaches taking turns at dealing blackjack, roulette and craps. Also helping out to raise money were the many people and companies that donated auction items, including a bass-fishing boat, and autographed jerseys, photographs and other sports and music memorabilia.
“It’s a great cause,” Ryan said. “It creates incredible awareness, and it’s a lot of fun. It really is. And it’s a great party, as everybody will leave here with a smile on their face I’m sure and realize that they can be a part of what we’re trying to do.”
The night was capped off with a concert featuring Jaron and The Long Road to Love and the country-western chords of Gary Allan.
Visit the Vine Line site on cubs.com to read our cover story on the Dempster family’s goal to strike out DiGeorge syndrome and to subscribe today.